Jesus had refrained from talking with His followers about His death during most of His ministry because He knew they would be overwhelmed. But eventually it had to be done.
“From then on Jesus began to tell His disciples plainly that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem, and that He would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day He would be raised from the dead. But Peter took Him aside and began to reprimand Him for saying such things. ‘Heaven forbid, Lord,’ he said. ‘This will never happen to you!’” (Matthew 16:21-22, NLT).
“Speechless with grief and amazement, the disciples listened. Christ had accepted Peter’s acknowledgment of Him as the Son of God; and now His words pointing to His suffering and death seemed incomprehensible. Peter could not keep silent. He laid hold upon His Master, as if to draw Him back from His impending doom, exclaiming, ‘Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee'” (Desire of Ages, p. 415).
How could Israel be made great again if the Messiah walked a path of humility and allowed Himself to be scorned by the religious leaders? He needed to be assertive and loudly proclaim His right to David’s throne! Jesus needed to be managed by a group of savvy PR “handlers” who could shape His image with just the right words and “media” appearances.
The strongest rebuke that Jesus ever gave was directed at one of His own followers—Peter!
“Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s’” (Matthew 16:23, NLT).
Jesus recognized that the devil was trying to use Peter to deter Him from the path He must take to be the world’s Redeemer, and He severely rebuked Peter for allowing the evil one to use him.
Spiritual greatness is not achieved through grandiose speeches, manipulative leadership techniques, or by performing supernatural wonders. Conversely, it only happens when we embrace the spirit of Jesus.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3-8, NLT).
Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.